Holy Moly Carry Me

BOA Editions, 2018

Finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry

Finalist for the 2019 Library of Virginia Award in Poetry

Winner of the 2018 National Jewish Book Award in Poetry

Released from BOA Editions on September 11, 2018: Erika Meitner’s fifth collection of poetry plumbs human resilience and grit in the face of disaster, loss, and uncertainty. These narrative poems take readers into the heart of southern Appalachia—its highways and strip malls and gun culture, its fragility and danger—as the speaker wrestles with what it means to be the only Jewish family in an Evangelical neighborhood and the anxieties of raising one white son and one black son amidst racial tensions and school lockdown drills. With a firm hand on the pulse of uncertainty at the heart of 21st century America and a refusal to settle for easy answers, Meitner’s poems embrace life in an increasingly fractured society and never stop asking what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves.


“Erika Meitner is the quintessential 21st century storyteller, bearing witness from the vantage point of a social critic with heart, humor, and an incomparable voice. Holy Moly Carry Me is an urgent document of our complex ties with the past, and the dangers of letting histories, private and public, repeat themselves. She reminds us that ‘We are under the care of each other and sometimes we / fail mightily to contain the damage.’ This collection is Meitner at the height of her powers.” —Carmen Giménez Smith

Holy Moly Carry Me is a triumph! In these formally dexterous poems Meitner vibrates wildly between the song & the document, exploding the shadowy space between history & memory. The opening poem tells us, ‘There are holes in all of these stories—open-mouthed gaps in the fence, a singing presence.’ The voices in this books fill those gaps with a brilliant & difficult noise. In this necessary unprecedented book Meitner has assembled the materials of our apocalyptic present & past and invites us in to revel & quake with her.” —sam sax

“In the stunning, exact, and haunting book Holy Moly Carry Me, Meitner’s strong signature voice is on full display, but with a complex empathy for the violent, messed-up world. These are powerful poems that wonder, ache, fear, question, delve into history, and somehow never stop praising the human capacity for survival.”  —Ada Limón


“[T]hinking of this volume as an elegant mixtape does not feel like a stretch. Often, individually and collectively, its poems represent an amalgamation of samplings—coalescing into a reading experience suffused with the speaker’s private griefs and unexpected delights, a humor of juxtapositions, as the poet anticipates when her reader needs a mood change when to fade slowly in or out.”—The Adroit Journal

“Meitner has created a keen social record of, and commentary on, our persistent human atrocities, but she also admirably transcends the dire in a search for salvation.” —ALA Booklist

“Meitner writes boldly and unapologetically about the public sphere, but each poem is as intimate as it is grand…As much as anything, Holy Moly Carry Me is about navigating the world’s disorder…and finding a way through the brokenness—finding “in our actual steps,” as one poem’s speaker puts it, the “song / that’s not quite song.” —The Arkansas International

“What really impressed me about it is how beautiful and tender it is. It’s really just a live wire. She’s a Jew in Appalachia raising an African-American adopted son. She is and isn’t at home. She’s kind of meditating on these things but she does so in this very incantatory, almost prayer-like way.” —Tess Taylor, NPR’s All Things Considered